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Poem by Madison Julius Cawein


An Anemone


"Teach me the wisdom of thy beauty, pray,
    That, being thus wise, I may aspire to see
What beauty is, whence, why, and in what way
    Immortal, yet how mortal utterly:
For, shrinking loveliness, thy brow of day
    Pleads plaintive as a prayer, anemone.

"Teach me wood-wisdom, I am petulant:
    Thou hast the wildness of a Dryad's eyes,
The shyness of an Oread's, wild plant: -
    Behold the bashful goddess where she lies
Distinctly delicate! - inhabitant
    Ambrosial-earthed, star-cousin of the skies.

"Teach me thy wisdom, for, thro' knowing, yet,
    When I have drunk dull Lethe till each vein
Thuds full oblivion, I shall not forget; -
    For beauty known is beauty; to sustain
Glad memories with life, while mad regret
    And sorrow perish, being Lethe slain."

"Teach thee my beauty being beautiful
    And beauty wise? - My slight perfections, whole
As world, as man, in their creation full
    As old a Power's cogitation roll.
Teach thee? - Presumption! thought is young and dull -
    Question thy God what God is, soul what soul."



Madison Julius Cawein


Madison Julius Cawein's other poems:
  1. Rembrandts
  2. Elfin
  3. The Rain
  4. Love's Calendar
  5. In Middle Spring


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